Resolutions themselves are wired for failure.
More than forty percent of people who make resolutions,
abandon them in the first month.
Less than ten percent of resolutions are actually achieved.
The resolutions we do find the courage to make are important to us. They’re things we think about a lot, like: “I wish I could quit smoking,” “I need to lose weight next year,” “I can’t handle one more year in this soul-crushing job.” Yet, we continually struggle to see these resolutions through. The average person is said to make the same resolution TEN TIMES!
What if I told you that it’s not you who is failing but the resolutions?
We’re given tools and taught how to plan all kinds of things: the perfect birthday party, family photo sessions, home decor, and epic summer road trips. But, it’s rare to hear someone in the media or at a party talk about how to plan your life. The information is available, but most people are not comfortable talking about it.
I have nothing against those news snippets and Pinterest boards about planning the perfect birthday party. I just think that we owe ourselves at least as much time to plan for our future as we spend planning our child’s next birthday bash. But, before you can begin planning for the upcoming year, you need to know where you’re starting from. An easy way to do this is with a Year-End Review.
When you plan your summer road trip, you map out your route, make reservations, and set aside funds. Yet, those things we want to change most in our lives, at best, are made into resolutions. We owe ourselves at least as much time to plan for our future as we spend planning a road trip.
Ever since I began writing personal goals, December has been a month of reflection and planning. I tend to slow down, take a step back, and think about how I feel the previous year went. I take time to reflect on what I accomplished and what I want in the upcoming year. I consider where I am in terms of the long-term vision I have for my life.
Some years these check-ins are frustrating. There has been at least one year I felt like I barely made progress. Still, these are wonderful opportunities to learn from my mistakes and find a better way. I take time to recognize the seeds that were planted, rather than what I failed to do.
Below you will find a list of questions to guide you through a year-end review. Start with this simple version. I’ve found that the more time I invest in this step, the better my results the following year.
SIMPLE YEAR-END REVIEW
1 – What accomplishments from the previous year are you most proud of?
I like to do a quick brain dump so that I have a clear picture of where I’m at. Nothing is too small. If it pops into your head, write it down. It’s nice to have these lists from year to year so you can see how far you’ve come and feel inspired to keep moving forward.
2 – What lessons did you learn? How can you use what you learned in the coming year?
This might be a mistake from which you learned a valuable lesson. Or maybe you learned something about yourself or your environment. I’ve gotten to know myself much better by analyzing how and why I fell short on my previous year’s goals. I’ve taken those lessons and improved my results in other areas of my life.
3 – What will you let go of in the New Year?
As we change and grow, there will always be something that no longer serves us. Think about projects, goals, commitments, emotions, or stories that don’t need to follow you into the coming year. It’s not always easy to check these things at the door as we transition to new seasons of our life. But naming them and being aware of is a great first step.
4 – What is the most important thing you want to change next year?
What ONE thing do you most want to change in the coming year? Think about the one change that will have the greatest impact on where you want to be five to ten years from now. This change should have a good why and be based on your desires, not the desires of others. This should be your primary focus as you set goals for the coming year.